Planning a British staycation with your pet? Take a look at our advice for keeping them happy and calm during the trip.
Our guide to UK pet travel
Leaving your pet behind when you go away can be hard, so many owners choose to take their pet with them. Since it requires a bit of preparation to get them ready for travel, it’s best to start thinking about what you need to do as early as possible. Whichever UK destination you’re travelling to, take a look at our advice for making the trip as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
Plan with your pet in mind
Make sure your holiday accommodation and destination is pet-friendly, with lots of suitable activities. Most hotel booking sites allow you to search specifically for pet-friendly accommodation, and many UK campsites also allow dogs as long as they’re kept on a lead. If you plan to hire a car, don’t forget to double check the hire company’s pet policy.
Avoid taking your pet on holidays if you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time with them. Leaving any pet alone in an unfamiliar place for long periods of time can cause stress and anxiety.
Bringing a favourite blanket or toy can help relax your pet and give them a sense of security. If possible, try and bring their usual bedding to ensure they get a good night’s sleep, and don’t forget things like collars and dog leads.
Most domestic travel is done by car, and it’s often the best option for owners wanting to take their pet with them.
The Highway Code states that pets should be suitably restrained so they can’t distract you while driving, or cause injury to you or themselves if you stop suddenly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are your best options for keeping them safe and secure in the car.
Pet’s deal with long car journeys on an individual basis; some are happy to fall asleep while others can become agitated and car sick, but there are lots of ways to help them be as comfortable as possible:
- Pack a large water bottle (five litres minimum for long journeys) to keep your pet hydrated. It can also be used to immediately cool them down if they start to overheat.
- During bright, warm weather, put sun shades on the windows to keep your pets cool, and ensure your car has air conditioning. Remember, never leave them alone in a hot car.
- Avoid feeding your pet within two hours of starting a long car journey to prevent car sickness. You can also speak to your vet about suitable travel sickness medication and other preventative measures.
- Bring a favourite toy or blanket to help calm your pet and give them a sense of security.
- Take regular pit stops to allow for toilet breaks and to let them stretch their legs. Cat owners can invest in a travel litter tray to take with them.
- If your pet is in the front passenger seat, remember to switch off the passenger seat airbag to avoid injury.
- To get your pet accustomed to the journey, try a ‘practice drive’ to a nearby destination in the run up to your trip.
Find a local vet
Remember to take note of where your local vet is once you’ve arrived at your destination, and find out if they offer a 24-hour service in case of an emergency.
Don’t forget to pack these must-haves when travelling with your pet:
- Favourite toy
- Food and treats
- Grooming accessories
- Waste bags, or litter tray and litter
- Collar and lead
- Food and water bowls
- A large bottle of water (five litres minimum for long journeys)
- Vaccination records
- Insurance policy documents and certificate
- Vet health certificate
- A note of their microchip number
If your pet’s staying at home...
If you decide to leave your pet at home, you need to make sure they’re suitably cared for in your absence. A trusted friend or family member can work for the short term, but for longer holidays you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter or putting your pet in a kennel or cattery.
If you opt for a pet sitter, it can be daunting to find someone you trust, particularly if they’ll have access to your home.
Your vet can help you plan for your travels with your pet.